Organizers suspend MayDay parade, promise to return in 2021

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Javier Lopez Perez, 8, blows bubbles as he watches the 40th Annual MayDay Parade, presented by In the Heart of the Beast Theatre and friends, on Bloomington Avenue in Minneapolis May 4, 2014.
Courtney Perry | MPR News file

The MayDay parade, which has marked the coming of spring to south Minneapolis for 45 years, will take next year off.

An announcement late Wednesday from In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre says the parade needs a break to “pause and redesign MayDay.” The theater described the annual event as financially and logistically unsustainable in its current form.

The theater’s announcement suggested that cultural sensitivities also played a part in its decision. In a four-month review, it said, the theater had heard from hundreds of artists and community members. Their responses indicated that “the creation process systematically marginalizes and appropriates the work of artists of color. This cannot be allowed to continue.”

The theater’s announcement said the parade will come back in 2021.

In the Heart of the Beast had said earlier this year that it could not continue to produce the parade by itself. This year’s MayDay parade made a $50,000 surplus, organizers said. With the breathing room left by that success, the theater spent the summer contemplating its next move.

“In the coming year, HOBT can choose either to produce the MayDay celebration that South Minneapolis has grown to know and love, or to invest our time and resources in rebuilding that celebration to equitably and resiliently continue as a valuable institution for future generations,” the announcement said. “We cannot do both. In the interest of the long-term value of this MayDay celebration, we choose to rebuild.”

The theater said people who are interested in being part of that process should consider being part of its MayDay Council.